Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that his side cannot relax in the Champions League after eventually seeing off Lyon in the Camp Nou to progress to the quarter-finals.
A Lionel Messi-inspired performance helped La Blaugrana to a 5-1 victory over their French opposition, but the match was not as comfortable for Valverde’s side as the scoreline may suggest.
After a comfortable first half in which Barcelona struck twice through a Messi penalty and Coutinho strike, Lucas Tousart’s 58th minute strike for Les Gones sent nerves throughout the Camp Nou as Lyon turned up the pressure.
“In the Champions League you can never relax and 2-0 wasn’t a sure result,” Valverde said after the game in his press conference, as reported by Marca.
“We had problems linking things together. It felt like they were more than one goal away.”
With the Catalan side struggling, Messi once again got Barca out of trouble, with a goal and two superb assists adding to his Panenka penalty in the first half to weather the Lyon storm and send his side through to their 12th consecutive Champions League quarter-final.
Valverde was full of praise for his talisman, stating: “We’re all very focused on this competition and Messi is too. He played an incredible match.”
The Barca manager also praised the performance of midfielder Arthur. He explained: “When we dominate a game he gives us calmness and tranquility. As time goes by you notice his effort.”
Barcelona are now the only Spanish side left in the competition, but Valverde isn’t getting ahead of himself just yet and is aware of the threat that all the remaining teams can cause.
“It’s impossible to look at just one team. We’ve all done well to get through. We’ll see who we will play, but any opponent will be complicated.”